Emergency Engagement

Emergency Engagement (2005)
Harlequin American Romance Classics

Sometimes Love Is An Accident Waiting To Happen…

The first night Beth Johnson and her daughter rushed into his hospital’s emergency room, Dr. Quinton Searle’s medical opinion was that their problem would resolve itself over time.

But that was before he saw firsthand what the single mother did to pay the bills and he discovered that even the idea of her exposing her body to other men’s eyes made him break into a sweat.

And it was also before he realized that his condo and a sham engagement were the only options the three of them had left….

Returning soon…

  • Publisher: ‎ Harlequin American Romance; Original edition (February 8, 2005)
  • Language: ‎ English
  • Mass Market Paperback: ‎ 256 pages
  • ISBN-10: ‎ 0373750609
  • ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0373750603
  • Item Weight: ‎ 4.8 ounces
  • Dimensions: ‎ 4.19 x 0.69 x 6.63 inches

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

He wasn’t supposed to be there. It wasn’t his night; in fact, this week he wasn’t supposed to deal with any emergencies unless they occurred during normal office hours.

But because of a wedding or something like that, there’d been a shortage of pediatricians to staff the pediatric emergency floor. So when his partner Bart had asked, Quinton had agreed to take Bart’s shift. Even though it was a Friday night, Quinton had had nothing better to do.

Which, when he stopped to think about it, was pathetic. He, Dr. Quinton Searle, pediatric specialist, should have something to do. At thirty-five, he should have some woman to date, some place to be.

But the truth was that he didn’t, which is why, when the call came through, he was in the wrong place at the right time. He turned to Elaine, who at fifty-something had seen it all. He liked working with her; she was a model of efficiency, the most reliable nurse in any crisis. “What have I got?” he asked.

“Four-year-old child. Poison Control just called. The kid ate the mother’s cold medicine. Thought it was green candy.”

He frowned as he contemplated the situation. “How many?”

Elaine checked her notes. “The mother thinks it was only two tablets, but she isn’t sure. The container is empty.”

Great. Quinton hated variables. “Is she here yet?”

Elaine shook her head. “Any minute. Downstairs knows to buzz me immediately so we can bring the kid right up.”

Quinton nodded. Downstairs was slang for the main emergency room. As part of the Chicago Presbyterian Hospital’s patient care plan, a separate emergency floor had been set up especially for children. Children were triaged in the main ER, then sent to the pediatric ER. Even admittance paperwork could be done on this floor. He shoved his hand into the pocket of his white doctor’s coat. “Let me know the minute you get the buzz.”

“Will do,” Elaine replied. “I’m going to check on the patient in room twelve. The pediatric plastic surgeon should have been here twenty minutes ago.”

“Good idea,” Quinton said. When he had phoned earlier, the surgeon had assured Quinton that he’d be there in ten minutes. Already half an hour had passed.

Which was not good. The three-year-old boy waiting for the surgeon had fallen completely through the skin below his lower lip. Fifteen minutes ago

the parents had given up keeping the numbing cream on the injury. That, of course, meant the cream would have worn off somewhat by the time the surgeon finally arrived.

Quinton frowned. Besides coping with variables, he hated waiting on specialists. He could have stitched up the injury himself, but probably not without leaving a worse scar than the plastic surgeon would. So, since Quinton knew the kid needed both internal and external stitches, he and the family were both waiting. Not an ideal situation at all, and now his time would be further divided when the drug overdose arrived.

He could use some caffeine. Having a few spare moments, he went to the staff lounge and filled a white foam cup with hot coffee. Someone had made a fresh pot, and the aroma wafted toward his nose as he sipped. The bitter black balm failed to soothe his soul. He contemplated the real reason he’d chosen to work this weekend.

Bart and responsibilities as a member of the hospital staff aside, work had gotten him out of a family function relating to his sister’s upcoming wedding. Not that he didn’t love his parents or his only sibling, but he didn’t necessarily want to see them, or hear the question they always asked: when was he moving home for good?

Trouble was, he didn’t want to return to St. Louis. The staff lounge window overlooked parts of Chicago, a city he’d called home since attending medical school at Northwestern University, and Quinton paused a moment to study the darkened cityscape. Chicago vibrated with life, and the city had a way of neutralizing differences. In St. Louis, life was all about where you went to high school and what country club you joined after college.

In Chicago, no one in his current social circle cared. In Chicago, he wasn’t Fred Searle’s son, groomed since birth to take over his aging father’s still-thriving medical practice. His parents had it all planned: Quinton was to marry the right girl, join the right club and have his kids attend the right schools. He’d assume his rightful place in St. Louis society.

But St. Louis society stifled; it didn’t foster growth as did Chicago’s eclectic mix. In his opinion, St. Louis had no real diversity, except for perhaps racially mixed University City, a town that Quinton’s family saw as too liberal and certainly not a fitting place for their grown son.

In Chicago, he was free from all that. Free from the mistakes he’d made, the people he’d inadvertently hurt in his crueler high school days. In his new hometown he could disappear into anonymity, or he could join what he wanted. There wasn’t one museum to visit but several. And the best part of Chicago was the magnificent Lake Michigan lakeshore, that expanse of blue water that never failed to calm him. He was a Cancer, a crab; he needed water. His apartment had floor-to-ceiling windows that gave him a view of

the lake from two sides. When looking out over the lake toward Indiana, Quinton almost felt as if he could fly. Better yet, during the summer he could pull his boat out of its mooring and disappear into the endless blue.

But June was still five months away.

He tossed the empty cup into the trash can, the brew having somehow disappeared during his reverie. He didn’t remember drinking the coffee.

The lounge door shot inward, and Elaine poked her head through. “They’re downstairs,” she announced. “Jena is getting them now.”